“CAN one person make a difference?”

Is there someone out there who can rid our neighbourhoods from the clutches of crime?
The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
There is, indeed, a super hero in our midst who can rid us of this of this terrible affliction, but first this person must overcome a colossal weakness – the feeling of helplessness.

So, who is this pioneer who can virtually eradicate the criminal element from society?
The answer is simple – it is you!
If you have the courage to banish your apathy and indifference, the future will seem a lot brighter.
When MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato, visited the recent Community Policing Forums (CPF) in Hout Bay and Kirstenhof, the turn-out was atrocious.

It is the same story all over Cape Town. People have retreated into their own world and most obstinately refuse to partake in these vital meetings.
More often than not, a crippling fear and downright laziness will fill your mind with thoughts like, “I can’t change a thing,” or, “We’re done for anyway.”

It is, after all, much easier to wash your hands of the problem. You will profess to whoever wants to listen, “Let the police do what they’re paid to do,” but the only person you’re really trying to convince is yourself. An isolated existence has been justified with countless “incontrovertible” excuses, but they are flimsy to say the least. The point of no return is upon us. If we don’t unite against crime, then we’re undoubtedly doomed.

“Can one person make a difference?”
The answer is a resounding “No!”
One person does not make up a CPF or a neighbourhood watch. People are happy when they hear someone is patrolling their neighbourhood at night and contributing to a safer world, but when these people are confronted with the opportunity to get involved they will have a host of mostly pitiful excuses on hand.

Those who voluntarily sacrifice their time for the safety of others are shining examples of everything that is right in the world. Human beings are social creatures – we need each other when faced with great danger. Presently, no danger is more imminent than the uncompromising criminal.

Forgive me if this sounds a bit harsh, but society is on the brink of total chaos. Jails are overcrowded, the police are understaffed, and CPF meetings are completely pointless without the community.
There is a malicious tumour growing in the bowels of society, and it goes by the name of “every man for himself”.
Some will ask what the point is of going to a meeting at which people discuss crime, but they don’t see the bigger picture. CPF meetings are not just a discussion – they constitute a war room.

Judging by the number of people attending these meetings, the good guys are severely outnumbered, which is in itself a conundrum, because the vast majority of people find crime despicable.
If we stand together then we can conquer this evil. The battle lines have been drawn and victory is assured, but Tom wants to sleep, Dick wants to braai and Harry wants to watch television.

So, I ask one last time, “Can one person make a difference?”
This time, there is no resounding answer. It is up to you to attend your local CPF meetings and join your neighbourhood watch programme. At times it might seem insurmountable, but as philanthropist Andrew Carnegie once said, “Anything in life worth having is worth working for.”

You can either sit back and hope someone else does the work or you can stand up and be counted.
It’s up to YOU!